Ed Johnson column: Will Krebs' holiday help UNM? - Albuquerque Journal

Ed Johnson column: Will Krebs’ holiday help UNM?

New Mexico’s Paul Krebs no doubt is enjoying his great basketball vacation.

He hasn’t had to read snarky comments about him in the local rag or accidentally come across a talk radio station where his ability to hire and fire is being challenged.

Instead, he got to hang out with his chums on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament selection committee.

He got to brag that while the rest of them carry the mere tag of “directors of athletics” at their respective schools, he’s got the words “vice president” in his.

Of course, he may have taken some ribbing from Stanford AD Bernard Muir about a certain humbling loss the Lobos suffered to the Cardinal in the 2014 version of the NCAA’s most treasured event.

But I’m sure Krebs took the time to corner Duke AD Kevin White and convince him his Blue Devils should visit the Pit.

Then he no doubt chatted up fellow committee rookie Mitch Barnhart of Kentucky and invited John Calipari’s ‘Cats to strut down our arena’s sheer drop of a ramp.

Perhaps he treed Creighton’s Bruce Rasmussen and casually inquired about the happiness and contract status of basketball coach Greg McDermott. You never know when you might be conducting a coaching search and McDermott’s run-and-gun style would entertain a certain portion of the UNM faithful.

And while Krebs understands basketball pays his salary, he has a clear fondness for football.

He may have sidled up to Mark Hollis of Michigan State and wondered how much the Spartans would fork over if the Lobos were to travel to East Lansing.

He probably reminded BYU’s Tommy Holmoe of the fun the Cougars and Lobos have had in the past, including one where 39,233 showed up to watch them at University Stadium. That would have been a lot of pocket money from parking fees had that been the practice back then.

When he got the gig, Krebs touted the potential publicity it could generate for the school only a short drive from the banks of the Rio Grande. If the Lobos are no longer welcome at the NCAA Tournament, at least their boss gets a pass.

“The good news is that everywhere I go, I’m the AD of the University of New Mexico,” Krebs told the Journal in September. “I’m representing the University of New Mexico, and it brings some attention and notoriety. When you think there’s 351 schools that play Division I basketball and there are only 10 ADs on the committee – we’re in a small fraternity.”

Krebs has signed on to party at the fraternity for four more years. (His UNM contract only runs through June 2019; make of that what you will.)

Perhaps in his time as a walking billboard, he can convince someone Albuquerque would make a fine NCAA destination.

Yeah, access to the Pit floor is daunting for TV folks. Yeah, gaining an Internet signal can be as erratic as a No. 5 seed going against a No. 12. Yeah, they took a few seats out to pretty the place up and there is not as much ticket revenue as you might covet. But this is still the place Jim Valvano danced, and that’s got to be worth something.

Since his arrival, Krebs has strived to find a spot for New Mexico on the national stage. He has proven mostly incapable of balancing a budget. He seems to have issues with coaches and contract buyouts. But the national folks don’t have to know that.

Krebs is in Sacramento this week on committee business. No doubt he and a certain UCLA coach will have a warm embrace.

But for Krebs and UNM, his expedition is all about the future. It is all about the seeds he can sow on his basketball holiday.

Home » Sports » College » Men's basketball » Ed Johnson column: Will Krebs’ holiday help UNM?

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